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Psychosom Med. 1993 Sep-Oct;55(5):458-67.

Endocrine correlates of sadness and elation.

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  • 1Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Providence, Rhode Island 02908.


In a series of three exploratory studies, we examined the endocrine correlates of elation and sadness produced by the Velten Mood Induction Procedure (VMIP). In Study 1, 10 college females participated in elation and sadness mood inductions on separate days. In Study 2, 12 college females participated in a neutral mood induction. In Study 3, 16 college-aged actresses participated in elation and sadness mood inductions as in Study 1. At regular intervals in each study, we assessed subjective ratings of emotions, serum cortisol and growth hormone, and heart rate and blood pressure. Results demonstrated that the VMIP induced the desired moods. Serum cortisol increased equally in response to both the sadness and elation mood inductions, but showed no change in response to the neutral mood induction. Select associations between affect and cortisol levels were also observed. Interestingly, our data from Study 3 also suggest that an association may exist between elation and growth hormone. These endocrine changes did not appear to be a function of general arousal as indexed by cardiovascular changes. We conclude that elation and sadness are associated with endocrine concomitants and that the VMIP is a viable method for examining such associations. These previously unreported affect-endocrine relationships are discussed and implications for psychobiological theories of emotion are considered.

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